The Growth Approach

Coaching sessions are broadly structured around the GROWTH model.

©2009 growth coaching international

The model is an extended version of the widely used GROW model popularised by John Whitmore (2002). Research by Gollwitzer (1999) in relation to ‘Implementation Intentions’ supported the value of emphasising the ‘Tactics’ and ‘Habits’ steps in goal attainment, and these steps have been incorporated into the gci model.

This model has proven to be both popular and effective in providing a transparent approach to coaching conversations and a simple but effective scaffold for assisting leaders to have more effective coaching conversations with their own people.

We also place a value on providing evidence based coaching. We adopt the definition of evidence based coaching as described by Stober and Grant ( 2006,p.6) as the “...intelligent and conscientious use of best current knowledge integrated with practitioner expertise in making decisions about how to deliver coaching to individual coaching clients and designing and teaching coach training programs.”

Our modification of the GROW model to GROWTH in the light of Gollwitzer’s (1999) research on Implementation Intentions is just one example of how an evidence based approach has informed our coaching practice. We seek to do this in other areas of our coaching approach so that a level of rigour is maintained throughout the entire process. Various new empirically validated interventions from positive psychology are incorporated into our coaching approach as may be required.

Our coaching approach also encourages coaching participants to involve colleagues in their own coaching journey. We believe that inviting the coachee’s colleagues, direct reports and supervisors, when appropriate, to be partners in their development provides stronger ‘system’ support for sustaining learning and change that coaching can help initiate.

Research by Goldsmith and Morgan (Goldsmith & Morgan, 2004) has been influential in highlighting the value of seeking this ongoing feedback and input so that individual development becomes a collaborative effort helping to ensure accountability and sustainability.


  • Gollwitzer,P ( 1999) Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493-503.
  • Goldsmith, M., & Morgan, H. (2004). Leadership is a Contact Sport: The 'Follow up Factor' in Management Development. Retrieved July 2011, from
  • Stober, D. R., & Grant, A. M. (2006). Evidence based coaching handbook: Putting best practices to work for your clients. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc; US.
  • Whitmore, J. (2002). Coaching for performance: growing people, performance and purpose. London: Nicholas Brealey.

Solutions Focused Infused

Solutions Focus is an exciting and complete approach to change. From origins twenty years ago, it is now being used by major corporations, top business schools and many coaches and consultants as the methodology of choice where efficient, respectful and lasting change is wanted. Solutions Focus has links with Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Psychology but is distinct from both these approaches.

In helping individuals and teams progress on their challenges our SF Infused approach seeks to:

  • Bring attention to what's wanted rather than focus on what's wrong and analysis of the problem situation;
  • Highlight current resources and strengths that can help things progress rather concentrate on gaps and what's missing
  • Stay at the surface and address what emerges in conversation rather than explore underlying motivations
  • Emphasise progress towards the what's wanted via small next steps rather develop long term goal achievement plans

It is all this and much more.

To learn more about our 'SF Infused' approach to both individual coaching, team coaching and consulting projects, watch this interview with Dr Mark McKergow, one of the world's leading Solution Focused thinkers and GCI's Dr Kris Needham.
To learn more about how the 'SF Infused' approach has influenced
our coaching approach, watch this interview with GCI team members
Annette Gray and Jason Pascoe.

Growth Coaching International is an approved coaching services provider with…

  • bastow
  • QELi (Queensland Education Leadership Institute)
  • Centre for Strategic Education (CSE)
  • Institute for Professional Learning, WA
  • Catholic Education Office, WA
  • Department for Education and Child Development

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BOSTES Endorsed

Upcoming Workshops

Coaching Accreditation Program - 2017 Dates

NT 27 & 28 Feb | QLD 9 & 10 Mar | SA 14 & 15 Mar

Introduction to Leadership Coaching

NSW 1 & 2 Mar | VIC 9 & 10 Mar | SA 28 & 29 Mar

Solution Focus Master Class: Advanced Coaching Skills Program

NT 27 & 28 Feb | WA 20 & 21 Mar | NSW 20 & 21 Mar

8 Mistakes Commonly Made with Performance Reviews

It is widely recognised that the extent of engagement and passion of the individual employee will directly and significantly impact on the level of outcomes and success for an organisation. Given we also know that leadership is a significant contributor to this passion and engagement, then it is astounding that one of the most critical leadership tools available to managers is often under-utilized… the performance conversations.

McKergow and Jackson in their book, The Solutions Focus, have found that the vast majority of people leave a performance review meeting feeling very glad it’s over so they can get on with the “real stuff” and worse still… 80% feel less motivated than before the performance review.

So, what are some of the more common mistakes made with performance reviews and how can we avoid them?

Mistake 1
Trust – the lack of it

As Daniel Pink points out in Drive; The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, if we ignore the motivation that comes from a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose, we are overlooking the power of intrinsic motivation.

So a high level of trust in the individual is central to any performance review process. This starts with the belief that the person in front of you could be creative, clever, courageous and self directed and if led well, will demonstrate this.

Mistake 2
Goals – Too many and not “real”

Most performance conversations do not result in a manageable number of “real” goals that are inspiring for the person being managed. Many such meetings result in the manager telling the team member of the goals they need to focus on in the coming months or year. Unless there is a feeling of; “I’d want to get up in the morning to have a go at that goal”, there is a low chance that there will be any sustained effort.

What a wasted opportunity!

A solution is to make the performance conversation an integral part of a process, rather than an event. Goal setting is something that is done in a collaborative partnership where trust is high and the “real stuff” can be raised by both the team member and the manager.

Mistake 3
Reality – Focusing on what’s missing

Traditionally as leaders, we want to know what’s missing and what’s not working so that we can fix the “problem”. An alternative is to explore what is working, and to leverage off the strengths that have contributed to that. The most direct route is to find what works and do more of it!

Mistake 4
Options –Those of the manager

Within a coaching approach to managing performance, the person being managed is encouraged to develop a wide range of options themselves. The manager may ask creative questions to open up lateral thinking in the team member, such as; “What would someone else tell you to do here”? The manager would revisit the strengths the team member has had affirmed earlier and ask; “Are there possibilities if you were to use the strengths that have worked for you in the past”?

Mistake 5
Will – Planning “big” steps rather than “small” ones

In our enthusiasm to see goals achieved we can rush to closure and can encourage our team members to choose options that they are not fully committed to. The “will” to turn a selected option into actions is the point here.

Questions such as; “which of these options do you have some energy around” and “what option could you get started on next week”, encourage the team member to focus on the small steps they will commit to and turn into action.

Mistake 6
Tactics – Lack of small steps to ensure we “get started”

It is here that the “how and when” questions are asked. By planning the small steps that have to be taken in the next week or so and recording them, the bigger steps naturally happen as a result of momentum. We find asking questions like; “what would you need to do just prior to that?” brings the coachee to the immediate small steps. This requires trust by the manager that the further actions beyond the small steps written, will in fact be taken.

Mistake 7
Habits – Overlooking what will sustain success

Often our good intentions just don’t transform into results. We spend time forming the goals and possibly even write down some actions only to find that at the next meeting….nothing has happened!

I’d recommend time is spent every 4-5 weeks checking in with the employee. These check ins can be brief, but the key is for the manager to know the team member’s goal(s) and to provide specific, personal and genuine praise and recognition for the effort given and progress made, towards goals. From time to time, new options may be explored, with new actions written for the next period.

Mistake 8
Celebrating Results – Or Not!

Celebrating effort as well as achievement regularly is a critical aspect of managing performance. An MBA is useful…but an MBWA (Management by Walking Around) is critical!

This article was recently published in the The West Australian View here

About the author

Grant O’Sullivan

Grant O’Sullivan is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management WA and Director of Leadership Development with growth coaching international heading up the work undertaken in WA, SA and the NT. Grant has a career background that has included general manager, board chair, director of schools and school principal and is a highly sought after keynote speaker, facilitator and trainer working across the country. Read More →

9 Questions to Ask About Coaching in Your Organisation

The coaching industry has grown significantly in the past decade with increasing awareness of what coaching is; more organisations using coaching as a people development strategy; more university programs and more PhD’s being undertaken into coaching related research.

All this is good. This growing interest though brings with it greater questions and challenges about the impact of coaching.

A recent research paper published by Jericho Partners in the UK (Gilkes, 2010)* sought to identify current practices in organisational coaching. A qualitative survey and interview process involving senior HR professionals in 17 leading UK firms across different industries concluded that... “The organisations surveyed were generally found to be using coaching in a relatively unsophisticated way. Executive coaching was often tactical rather than strategic and the systems and processes remain quite under‚Äźdeveloped.”

In response Gilkes developed the Coaching Maturity Profile as a framework for thinking through some of the strategic and system issues that can impact coaching effectiveness. He proposed that organisational coaching be evaluated against 9 criteria:

  • Strategic or Tactical?
  • Organisation based or Individual based?
  • Integrated or Stand Alone?
  • Controlled or Chaotic?
  • For Many or for Few?
  • Investment or Cost?
  • Outcomes Measured or Outcomes Assumed?
  • Professional Selection or Contacts Led Selection?
  • Focused on Benefits or Focused on Disappointments?

Happy coaching!
John Campbell

About the author

John Campbell BADipEd, MAppSc (Comm Mgt), MAppSc (Psych Coaching) FAIM

John Campbell is Managing Director of Growth Coaching International Pty Ltd, an Australian based consulting organisation that provides coaching and coaching services to school leaders and teachers across Australia and now in the UK, the Middle East and the Asia/Pacific region.

John has been a high school teacher, a curriculum consultant and over the last decade has led leadership and coaching skill development workshops for thousands of educators across Australia and internationally. In addition to his teaching degrees he holds a masters degree in the psychology of coaching from the University of Sydney.

Connect with John: LinkedInTwitter

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How to Make the Chatter in the Head work for you!

The internal voice or ‘chatter in the head’ has long been identified as a source of influence on the successful completion of goals. More often than not the ‘voice in the head’ is viewed as an obstacle to success since it seems frequently to undermine confidence and challenge our ability to undertake the goals and challenges that we aspire towards. Quite a lot has been written about the power of affirmations and positive statements as a way to rewrite the voice in the head ‘tapes’ so that they are more supportive of what we might be trying to accomplish.

Now it seems that there might be a bit more to it...

Recent research1 at the University of Illinois investigated the impact of positive affirmation self statements, and the findings indicate that self questions may have more influence in building motivation and commitment to goal achievement than self statements!

In experiments conducted by Professor Dolores Albarracin , participants , prior to undertaking a simple word puzzle task were required to either spend 1 minute wondering whether they would complete a task or telling themselves they would. Participants showed more success on tasks when they asked themselves whether they would complete it than when they told themselves they would. Similar results were confirmed in follow up experiments.

"We are turning our attention to the scientific study of how language affects self-regulation," Professor Albarracin said. "Experimental methods are allowing us to investigate people's inner speech, of both the explicit and implicit variety, and how what they say to themselves shapes the course of their behaviors."

"The popular idea is that self-affirmations enhance people's ability to meet their goals," Professor Albarracin said. "It seems, however, that when it comes to performing a specific behavior, asking questions is a more promising way of achieving your objectives."

All this seems to add further to the mystery and the impact of questions, both those posed to us by others and those we ask ourselves. We know that the questions we ask have a powerful role to play in moving those we coach towards new insights and new actions, now it seems that the unspoken, internalised questions people ask of themselves have an impact as well. All the more reason to keep building our repertoire of incisive and thought-shifting questions!

Happy coaching!
John Campbell


About the author

John Campbell BADipEd, MAppSc (Comm Mgt), MAppSc (Psych Coaching) FAIM

John Campbell is Managing Director of Growth Coaching International Pty Ltd, an Australian based consulting organisation that provides coaching and coaching services to school leaders and teachers across Australia and now in the UK, the Middle East and the Asia/Pacific region.

John has been a high school teacher, a curriculum consultant and over the last decade has led leadership and coaching skill development workshops for thousands of educators across Australia and internationally. In addition to his teaching degrees he holds a masters degree in the psychology of coaching from the University of Sydney.

Connect with John: LinkedInTwitter

Read More

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